[Bards] Bardic Community

Alden Drake alden_drake at sbcglobal.net
Wed Oct 25 05:49:25 PDT 2006

To collegiate, or not to collegiate....

While I'm a relatively new voice among bards, I think the root of the problem among bards is that somewhere in the past, we lost sight of being a community, and instead became individual bards with no real connection to eachother outside of our own local areas.  I've seen discussions on this list, and spoke to a few experienced bards about the fact that people seem to be passionate about either a) being a college, or b) not being a college, but I think we can go a long way to being a strong bardic community without involving politics, heirarchy, hoopla, etc. that some people associate with a bardic college.

As far as signs of experience and heirarchy, we already have that in the form of our kingdom awards.  Laurels, Irises, and Thistles go a long way in our kingdom to indicate which individuals have been recognized for specific areas of interest.  We should be encouraging those people to be our teachers, and funnel newcomers to our community to those teachers who specialize in areas of interest to the newcomers.  Something I started putting together for the website is a list of bards, what they are willing to teach, and what they want to learn, for the purpose of pairing people together.

Mentoring - the approach to mentoring and teaching is up to the individual.  While I'm willing to teach anyone what I know, I have a bardic student who I pay particular attention to as a mentor.  I encourage her to learn from others besides just me, but I try to fill the role of being her academic advisor and primary go-to person.  I in turn have a mentor/primary teacher.  Just because we become mentors doesn't mean we necessesarily stop having a mentor of our own.  I suppose at a certain point, we replace a mentor with peers (not capital P Peers, but peers being equals).

I think we could do a lot just in the structure of being a guild if we can come up with ways of coming together as a community.  We have recently been given our own Deputy A&S Minister, whose focus should be encouraging our efforts in that direction.  We have a Kingdom Bard who, in service to the Crown, should be the epitome of what our guild has to offer in talent and service to our community.  It is our duty as performers to support them, and bring the bardic arts to the people of our kingdom.

For starters, we should look at what we have kingdom-wide to bring us together.  We have Eisteddfod and the Ansteorran Bardic Collegium.  These are *OUR* events.  Do we make the most of them?  What can we do to improve them?  Looking at Eisteddfod, I found that Eisteddfod is a kingdom calendar event.  Steppes Twelfth Night is not.  Steppes typically hosts Eisteddfod and tacks their event onto it, which is fine, but it seems to me (by what I saw last year) that the Steppes event overshadows Eisteddfod.  So what can we do to make Eisteddfod bigger and better?  What about combining Eisteddfod and the Bardic Collegium?  Do classes in the morning and afternoon, and then Eisteddfod in the evening?  What can we do in addition to these two things?  Have a bardic sponsored tournament to determine the "Bardic Defender"?  Have an A&S competition of original bardic compositions?  The archery community had a Bard of the Archers competition some time ago, how cool is that!?  Can we do it again?  Can we do it in other martial venues?  What about organizing a Bardic Feast, where the whole point *IS* dinner theater?  Gulf Wars - HL Gerald of Leesville hosted an outstanding bardic circle in front of the Ansteorran Gate.  What can we do to make it bigger and better?  These are just some ideas to get the ball rolling.  

I remember a quote that goes, "When all is said and done, more will be said than done."  But let's get *something* done.

In service,
HL Alden Drake

More information about the Bards mailing list